Russian MFA Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin Interview with RIA Novosti Regarding Upcoming Working Visit to Russia of Alcinda Antonio de Abreu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique
Unofficial translation from Russian
Question: How could you describe Russian-Mozambican relations on the threshold of the visit of the Mozambican Foreign Minister to Moscow, scheduled in the new few days?
Answer: The working visit of Alcinda Antonio de Abreu, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, is scheduled for May 31-June 2. Mozambique is our time-tested partner in Africa. Relations between the two states bear a traditionally friendly character; their foundation was laid in the period of the struggle of the Mozambican people for national independence. After the end in 1992 of a long-running internal armed conflict, the country took the path of peaceful construction and intensified its foreign policy moves in Africa and in the international arena as a whole. Mozambique makes a noticeable contribution to African Union activities and participates in integration processes on the continent. We attach importance to further development of constructive interaction with the country, occupying a prominent place on the continent's political map.
Question: What themes are going to be discussed in the course of the upcoming visit?
Answer: Talks between the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of Russia and Mozambique will include the broadest spectrum of issues. On key themes of international life, primarily such as the creation of a more equitable system of interstate relations, disarmament, the strengthening of the central role of the UN in world affairs, the resolution of regional crisis situations, and counteraction against international terrorism and other present-day challenges and threats, the positions of Moscow and Maputo are close or coincide. In the course of the dialogue it is planned to compare notes on the coordination of our countries' foreign policy moves regarding the most pressing problems in world politics.
African problems are also expected to be discussed in detail, among them the resolution of crisis situations on the continent, African Union activities, and the dynamics of the integration processes evolving in the region. An exchange of views will take place on the theme of Russia's participation in efforts aimed at solving the problems of this continent and implementing the NEPAD program.
Question: What do you think are the prospects for business ties between our country and Mozambique and also contacts in other fields?
Answer: It has to be acknowledged that the extent of trade-and-economic cooperation is not large so far. At the same time, it is to be remembered that Mozambique is one of the African countries possessing significant mineral resources. It is gratifying that Russian business over the recent period has markedly stepped its efforts to forge cooperation with Mozambique, for example, in the mining industry, metallurgy and energy, in the area of agriculture and in the development of marine resources.
The presentation of Russian firms, organized by the Expotech-Tour Business Tourism Agency, was held in Maputo in October last year. As part of this event, talks took place on the participation of Nobel Oil company in the exploration and development of the mineral resources of Mozambique – oil, gas, gold, uranium, heavy sands and others. And already at the end of March a memorandum of understanding was signed with a view to the creation by it of a joint venture with Mozambique Mineral Resources Ltd.
Russia's asset management company RUSAL also shows interest in forging business interaction. In December 2006 it held talks on the prospects of organizing the processing of bauxite-containing raw materials and setting up new generating facilities on the basis of local coal deposits.
The sides are making efforts aimed at improving the legal basis for Russian-Mozambican links. In November 2003 an intergovernmental protocol was signed on making an inventory of the existing juridical base of bilateral relations. A discussion of a draft agreement on visa-free trips of citizens of the two countries on diplomatic and service passports took place.
A dialogue is also developing between the interior ministries; preparations are under way for the visit to Russia of Mozambique's minister of interior, during which it is planned to sign an agreement on the establishment of partner ties between the said agencies.
To sum up, we expect that the visit of Alcinda Antonio de Abreu will be very useful in terms of the strengthening of engagement between Russia and Mozambique in the international arena and will serve to deepen the two countries' cooperation both in the trade-and-economic and in other fields.
May 30, 2007